Stephen A. Smith has gone on plenty of memorable tirades since becoming one of the most famous (and divisive) talking heads in sports broadcasting, but it’s pretty hard to top the rant he delivered after the Lakers pulled off a heist for the ages by sending Kwame Brown to Memphis in exchange for Pau Gasol in 2008.
Brown is one of the biggest NBA Draft busts of all time, and while Gasol showed plenty of promise in Memphis prior to that fateful transaction, he really came into his own after taking his talents to Los Angeles and played a pivotal role in the two NBA titles he won alongside Kobe Bryant in 2009 and 2010.
However, there were plenty of people who thought Brown still had to potential to be a star when the trade was announced—although Smith certainly wasn’t one of them based on the scathing takedown he delivered at the expense of the “bonafide scrub” shortly after the news broke.
In 2021, Brown made it very clear he hadn’t forgiven Smith for those remarks when he challenged the First Take host to a fight, but the latter made it pretty clear he had no interest in escalating what he positioned as a fairly one-sided feud.
Anyone who’s kept tabs on Smith over the course of his career knows he rarely regrets issuing the many Hot Takes he cooks up on a regular basis, but it appears he does have some regrets about the aforementioned rant based on what he had to say about the fairly infamous moment during a recent appearance on Podcast P with Paul George.
"I wish I could do that over. I wouldn't do it."
Stephen A Smith keeps it real on his infamous Kwame Brown comments 💯
— Podcast P with Paul George (@PodcastPShow) August 14, 2023
Smith made it clear he still stands by his original stance but retroactively wishes he’d taken a more reserved approach while reacting to the trade, saying:
“I wish I could do that over. I wouldn’t do it…
Remember, I said it before Twitter and Facebook. I didn’t know 15 years later they were gonna have memes and videos, and when I see what he says, I realize how hurt he is.
It was a soundbite. They had just traded for Pau Gasol. They asked me this question and I’m like, ‘Pssh. What?'”
At the end of the day, Smith was objectively correct in his assessment, but I can’t help but respect the fact that he’s aware of the impact his words can have and has the ability to know when those repercussions outweigh any potential entertainment value.